If you have aspirations of moving home, 2014 is the year to do it. John Elliott, Managing Director of Millwood Designer Homes, gives some advice on making that move:
“Last year the housing market proved its resilience as it underwent a sizeable turnaround with prices rising at a pace unseen since the economic crisis.
So it is not surprising that both estate agents and banks are forecasting further growth in 2014, with house prices predicted to rise by between 5% and 8% this year, depending on who you listen to. It is not just London and the south east that are set to do well either, as gains are predicted in all parts of the country.
It doesn’t stop there. House prices are predicted to rise by 25% over the next five years. That’s not bad going, particularly when you remember the doldrums of the last six years.
These are exciting times and if you have been putting off moving because of uncertainty in the market, now couldn’t be a better time to do it.
If you aspire to change home in 2014, the first thing you need to do is to put your home on the market as you will be in a much stronger position. You will always receive the best deals from housebuilders and vendors if they know your house has already sold.
However, there are some important things to consider before you do this:
You need to be realistic about the price you will sell your home at and this will depend on whether you want to sell your house quickly or if you are prepared to wait. As a general rule, if you are happy to wait for up to six months, you could expect to sell your house at full market value. If you want to sell your home faster, then you need to be prepared to accept a lower value.
Timing is crucial
Winter is, not surprisingly, the worst time to sell a property. From March is the time when you should be putting your home on the market, and Easter is when most people start to think about moving again. Think about using the remaining time left of winter to make sure your property is in top condition.
Fix any major issues
You don’t need to gut and redecorate the entire property, but if you know there are issues with your home then it is important to get them fixed as they will inevitably be picked up in the survey.
Do you need to refurbish?
If you decide to do some work on your property, it is important that you don’t overspend – you just need to show your home to its best potential. The kitchen is the most important room in the house, followed by the bathroom, so if they are really outdated then it might be worth refitting. But if they are just a little tired around the edges then don’t spend money on replacing them, a lick of paint, replacing door fronts and regrouting can make a huge difference.
Target your market
Consider your target market and then tailor your home to appeal to them. If your small third bedroom is used as a study and your home will appeal to families, change it back to a bedroom so the purchaser can see how it will work.
Dress to impress
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer. What would you be looking for? Kerb appeal has a huge impact and first impressions are vital, so make sure front gardens are tidy, paint the front door and make the entrance area as welcoming as possible.
You don’t need to obsess over depersonalising a home, but it is important to tidy away all the clutter and minimise personal possessions so purchasers can picture themselves living in your home. If you have any bright walls, it might be worth repainting them with something more neutral, and a few high-quality furnishings can make a big difference to the appeal of your home.
Of course you should always make sure that the house is clean! Kitchens and bathrooms should be inviting and hygienic. Carpets should only be replaced if they are in a very bad state – often a good clean is enough.
Don’t always go with the estate agent that gives you the best price for your house. I would always recommend that you invite four estate agents to value your property in order to get a realistic guide, but remember that the highest price isn’t always going to be the right price. You need to get at least 2 of the 4 within £10K of each other to form a realistic assessment of the correct price zone.
Ultimately, if you are struggling to sell your home then you need to review the property condition and/or the price.
The economy is getting firmly back on track and the Bank of England interest rate will stay low for quite a while yet, despite what the doomongers say! If you have been worried about the markets for the next five years, it won’t get much better than this! So if you have been putting off moving over the last few years then 2014 is the time to seriously think about it.”